The controversial overhead power lines that are to be installed in the Hardanger Fjord have hit yet another hitch. The project, dubbed “monster masts” by detractors, will be delayed by one year.
“The goal was to complete the power line between Sima and Samnanger by 2012, but we see now that we will need to work through an additional summer season in order to finish,” Håkon Borgen, executive director of development for Statnett, the state enterprise that operates the energy grid, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). This means the power line will not be complete until 2013.
Statnett has been having issues with access to certain areas of the proposed route for the power line, and legal proceedings surrounding the cultural heritage act and permissions have taken longer than first anticipated. Borgen denies that any activist campaigns have caused the delay.
Opponents of the ‘monster masts’ have staged protests on several occasions, arguing that the power line is unnecessary and fearing that the construction will be an eyesore tainting the otherwise scenic panorama of the tourism-dependent region.
Synnøve Kvamme, of the group Hardangeraksjonen, is positive to what the delay might mean for their campaign. “Now I have new hope,” Kvamme told NRK. “We have not been able to campaign much, as people have been busy with work and school, but now it is summer time. If we get an extra year as well, everything could change.”
But Jan Ivar Rødland, mayor of Granvin municipality, is not quite as optimistic. Opposed to the project from the outset, he does not believe that the delay will have a significant impact on the future of the ‘monster masts’. Rødland told NRK, “whether it is 2012 or 2013 is not significant. We will not be able to stop the power line either way.”
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